More yarn

My sweet sister gave me a gift card for Knit Picks for my birthday. I have been really excited about it and have been agonizing most of today over what to get. Originally I had thought I wanted to buy a kit to learn Fair Isle knitting, but I changed my mind after looking around for a while. Once I got to thinking about it, I decided this was a good chance for me to test out some yarns with new and different fiber content than what I have previously used.

I bought a few skeins of lace weight yarn that I plan on using for weft in weaving. And a bought some more skeins for knitting hats (that I will most likely end up selfishly keeping for myself.) And I also bought a skein of merino, alpaca and silk that I plan on using to knit a scarf…also for myself. 😀

I know, I know, I’ll have to sell things eventually. But right now, I need to get a handle on how things work and all that jazz. And I can’t very well go around selling all of my tests right? That makes my selfishness justified…Almost…haha. Anyway, when I have an actual budget set aside for buying yarn specifically for projects to be sold, I won’t keep everything I make. Also, we agreed that I’m not going to be using weaving to make money with. It’s pretty much for my enjoyment. (What a blessing!)
Ceramics…that’s a different story. I plan on makin’ money off of that. I’ve been thinking a little about it and considering how I want to run my studio. I don’t think I really want to make entire dinnerware sets to sell. My instructor said he did that for a long time and he ended up getting out of it because, basically, he got sick of making the same thing over and over again. And customers just wanted to add to their sets not try new and different things. He said if you can be successful making different things, then you’re set because people will want you to do new things. I’d like to make small sets…As in like a set of 4 mugs, pie plates, etc. Or maybe use the same glaze or surface decoration but not have the shapes match.

Anyway, back to yarn. I truly am excited about all of it. 🙂 It will be fun to plan projects for each skein. For the lace weight I’m planning on using it just in the weft…Possibly in a mixed warp, but probably not. (It scares me too much) I bought one in green that will go really well with an olive green Tencel I have, one that is sort of an aqua color that will be pretty with a navy Tencel I have. (Love Tencel!!) And I got one that is variegated in fall colors that I plan on using a rayon warp with. All of my rayon cones are in natural colors which will go really nicely with the colors and tones of that skein. I can’t wait to hold them and feel them!! AAAAHH!!! Oh dear. When did I become SUCH A NERD?!?! Oh well. At least I’m in good company.
~JoAnna

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So little time!

I haven’t been able to weave much lately. I’ve been too busy with school. I’m working on another round of projects that are due next week. Yuck. About all I’ve had time to do is knit a little here and there. I’m working on hat # 7 from the yarns I bought. Mom gave me some more yarn for my birthday so that’s stretching my yarns a bit further. I’m hoping to be able to sell some of them at the craft fair coming up next(?) weekend. I can’t actually remember when it is…

I was telling my husband the other day that I usually have about 4 or 5 weaving projects in my head at the same time. It drives me crazy because I can’t get them all out! I had this idea for a scarf or a table runner using a dark plum purple (almost brown or black) and a dark orange and red. I also have some lovely 20/2 cotton in a royal blue that I have been wanting to try weaving a scarf out of. I wound off some warp when I was at school in the spring and it was also 20/2 cotton in a lovely teal. I only wound off a few pairs of the teal because I wanted it to be an accent stripe for the scarf warp I have on there now, but it turned out to be too much thinner. (A fact I was not considering at the time) So I’ve had it sitting in my stash for 8 months.

I’ve also been thinking about making a scarf set based on a book that I’m reading called Dune. (I think I mentioned this project) Yes, I keep saying scarves, but they’re my favorite thing to do because they’re quick and easy and you can wear them. I love things I can wear. 🙂 Also, I like to show off a bit by wearing and accessorizing with my handwovens. Can’t help it. haha. Anyway, the scarf would be a navy blue with a sandy brown. I was thinking I’d do it in a log cabin pattern. I’ve never tried log cabin, but it’s just color and weave. It can’t be that hard. 🙂

As for other projects, I’m really fascinated by Fair Isle knitting and I REALLY want to learn how to do it! I think mom and I are planning on trying to learn how it works over my winter break. I didn’t feel confidant enough in my knitting skills to attempt to learn how to do it on my own.

I’m always finding inspiration for colors and patterns everywhere!! Now if I could just get them out of my head and onto a loom or some needles…
~JoAnna

Stumbling…A favorite past time.

I don’t mean actually stumbling and falling. A friend told me about this site: StumbleUpon.com go here and start stumbling! Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the neat things I’ve found.

I love this. It’s fun to see a weaver from another culture.

I LOVE the colors in this one! I wouldn’t normally think of putting a teal/aqua with orange, but it’s beautiful. Perhaps I could use colors like this for a weaving project…

I love fibers and textiles in all their forms. I love the shapes of these lamp shades(?) I suppose that’s what they are.

I wish I had this on a t-shirt!! So cute!

As a former dancer, this speaks to my heart.

I want to hang out here! The colors are wonderful! It makes me want tea…haha

I want to make this hat. 🙂

I would love this for my kitchen!

I love this because it’s abstract and random. It’s still a quilt but not what you would traditionally think of.

Isn’t this a cool idea?? They call it a vertical veggie garden. Good for an apartment. I should make one!

This is called “Free form knitting”. I think it’s beautiful. Go here to see more!

Anyway, I get sick of not having any color or pictures, so I thought I’d post some. 🙂 I love looking at photos on Stumble for color ideas. It can be a really good inspiration source.
~JoAnna

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! It’s my golden birthday. The day your age and date of birth are the same number. 23!!

Quick and Painless

I finished putting the scarf warp on Mac this afternoon. So now I’m all set and ready to weave. The part I’ve been dreading is winding on. All summer I’ve had so many problems winding on every single warp. It’s taken me over an hour to wind on a 3 yd. warp. I think it once took me 4 hours to wind on a 5 yd. warp. Ridiculous!! No wonder I’ve been dreading it!

Well a while back I posted about how I had been performing the technique I saw in Syne’s blog incorrectly. Today was the first time I tried it with correction. It took me about 15 or 20 minutes to wind on an 8 yd. warp!! And that’s with stopping to fidget with choke ties, thrums, texting occasionally etc. Wow. The yarns were all orderly and I only had one warp yarn break right near the beginning because I wasn’t paying attention and pulled too tight. I’m still a bit in shock right now. So that makes getting to my favorite part (weaving) even easier. I don’t mind taking the time to dress my loom. It doesn’t really bother me because I know what I’m going to get out of it.
But if it doesn’t have to take upwards of 10+ hours to get a warp on and ready to weave, I’m perfectly okay with that. Anyway, the yarns look really nice together. I was a little worried that the tan might be too tan and make the yellow just look icky. But it looks nice together. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing for weft right now… (Which is why I’m blogging not weaving)

I don’t have much of the yellow yarn left. Perhaps instead of trying to get a 4th scarf out of the warp I’ll sample some ideas to get a clearer picture of what I want. That would give me about 30-40 inches for a sampler…Or something like that. Yeah. that will work. I’ll sample some yarns and some ideas and then weave 3 scarves. Well I’m glad I have something on there. I’m still not sure that any weaving will actually get to take place before school ends, but that’s okay. At least it’s on there. I choose to remain positive.
~JoAnna

Wishing…


I made the unfortunate mistake of looking at Webs and Yarn Barn today to see what’s new. Well not much is new, but it still made me want to buy yarn. 😦 There are these two lovely rayon colors from Yarn Barn that I wish I could buy!! Gold and curry.
*sigh* It goes with my current kick of fall colors. But it’s not just fall. I’m just discovering them because it IS fall. Well…I’ve always loved that gold color. 🙂

Anyway, I am hoping to start sleying the reed and threading today. I hope everything goes smoothly since I haven’t woven anything in about 2 months or so.
Back to the note of wishing…I wish that I could buy a new reed. 😦 I really do need a new one. Since the reed I currently have is metric (6dpc. Which is APPROXIMATELY 15 dpi) approximately is the problem. Since I’m using a sleying sequence to get a different sett than the reed “automatically” provides, the project is always off center by about an inch…sometimes less.

I was taught to measure the width of the reed, find the center, measure to the left of center half the width of the project and begin sleying from left to right. Generally this comes out only off by a few dents, but with the metric reed, it ends up off more than that because cm aren’t the same as inches. And since 15 dpi is pretty tight, it doesn’t matter how much I clean the reed or how many things I weave, it still seems to catch the yarn when I’m weaving.

Well…Lets not get all depressed. I’m still happy about the lovely weaving I get to do. I have an 8 yd. warp going on, and I SHOULD be able to get 4 scarves out of that. I know I used 11 yds. when weaving my last 4 scarf set, but I’m planning to make these shorter. I calculated a full yard of waste (which I’m sure I won’t need) But generally (depending on the yarn’s fiber content) I end up with aprox. 28″ of waste. I calculate high because often when I am winding the warp on, it gets really tangled by the end and I end up just cutting it off. It’s one of those decisions you make about yourself as a weaver. Am I more concerned with not wasting yarn or enjoying the process? Answer for me: Enjoying the process. If I end up frustrated and walking away from it because it’s too hard to get the knots out without breaking yarns, I cut it off.

Anyway, I still have to work the numbers out a little more to make sure I have everything right, but I think it should be no problem to get 4 scarves. I was reading in my handy-dandy Weaver’s Companion that the “normal” length for a formal woman’s scarf is something like 45-48 inches. CRAZY!! I prefer my scarves long and lanky. I like them to hang down to my hips when wrapped once around my neck. For me, that’s aprox. 72″.
Since I am just going to weave tabby I’ve been thinking of ways of spicing things up a little. I found this lovely project on the Schacht Spindle site: http://www.schachtspindle.com/yearning%20to%20weave/lesson_03.php

One of the things she does in this lovely little scarf is weave in loose roving for spinning/felting.

I have some roving that my instructor gave us that she didn’t want anymore and I think it would be fun to try weaving in some of that. It is 100% wool, but since it will be in such small quantity, I don’t think felting or shrinkage should be a problem. Again, it’s an experiment. I’m also going to try the stripe idea I had. Now if only I can get out of this office and get to my loom!!
~JoAnna

Weaving on the mind

I can’t seem to stop thinking about weaving lately.
Today I had some thoughts. I think I’d like to do some scarves with some simple stripes in them. It could be quite pretty. I think knitting is teaching me about proportions and stripes. It just translates a little differently to weaving.

For example: I was thinking I’d do green Tencel stripes in the scarves I’m planning on weaving. (or at least in one) If I was knitting a hat, it would be like knitting 10 rows of green, 3 of white, 7 of green, 3 of white, 5 green, 3 white, etc. But in weaving I’d have to throw quite a few weft shots to get the green stripes to be the same length they would be in knitting. It depends on how thick the yarn I’m weaving with is, but since it would be 8/2 Tencel, that’s pretty thin. I’ll just have to experiment. I’ll have to measure exactly how many inches the striping takes up on the first side and then weave the middle and when I get to the right number of inches left, I begin the stripe pattern again, just backwards so that they match. This could work!
Sometimes I just have to say things “out loud”.
~JoAnna

Christmas Came Early…

It came home in the form of to boxes full of handmade ceramic bowls, mugs, tumblers and tea bowls.
I am taking a ceramics throwing class this semester in school and it has been difficult but wonderful. Our mid-semester critique was yesterday and I got to bring home 17 bowls, 13 mugs, 11 tumblers and 25 tea bowls. They’re all lovely. I must say, I feel about the same about tea bowls as I do about pinch pots: useless. But that’s okay. I made some really pretty ones.

I was rather saddened by one of the comments another student made about the clay bodies we use at school. She asked if there was a clay body we could use that didn’t have speckles in it. 😦
My professor’s response was, “Ohhhhh! I cannot believe you’re asking me that.” The most wonderful thing about handmade pottery is that it has the speckles and doesn’t look like commercial/manufactured pottery. My Fiesta-ware is about as close as I can get to “handmade”.

Anyway, I’m certain I won’t keep everything I’ve made, but I’m not sure what I want to give away because I love everything that I’ve made SO much. We shall see. I know it will feel nice to know that my lovingly made pieces will find nice homes in my family and friends but it’s still hard. It’s like giving someone a small piece of yourself. Which is good because then they have it, but it’s hard too.

On another note: I MISS WEAVING!! I haven’t woven anything for a couple of months and it’s very sad! My poor Mac sits empty and unused. I feel guilty! I just really don’t have time this semester! I’m so busy! Two jobs, and a full load of classes is a lot. I never have time to just sit.
I keep hoping that maybe over fall break (this weekend) I’ll get to sit down and at least dress the loom so I can weave when I have a chance. I have an 8yd. scarf warp ready to be put on and I think I’m going to just thread it for tabby. That way at least I’ll be able to get some scarves out. I think it could be quite simple and lovely. And I’m all about simple and lovely. It’s a Rayon in natural colors and I think I’d like to just let that speak for itself.

Just talking about it makes me want to do it! I’m a bit nervous about winding an 8yd. warp on the loom in my tiny apartment, but I somehow managed to do it on the little Dorset that I borrowed from mom last fall so I’m certain I can do it!! I’d like to try twisted fringe on the scarves and see how it works. I’ve never tried that form of finishing before and I need to learn sometime. Now if only I could find some time…
~JoAnna